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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
The Observer

Saint Mary's students prepare for upcoming Marian consecration

With the Feast of the Immaculate Conception happening in just under two months, some Catholics are preparing to consecrate themselves to Mary through a Marian consecration.

“In simplest terms, it’s basically giving your life to Christ, but through his mother Mary,” senior Julie Weilbaker said. “So it is entrusting ourselves, our souls, our lives, all of our works, joys and sufferings to Mary as an offering to Jesus.”

Weilbaker said this year’s Marian consecration will focus on what it means to dedicate one’s life to Mary. The group will read the book “33 Days to Morning Glory” in preparation for the consecration.

“A big part of the consecration that we are doing, which is called ‘33 Days to Morning Glory,’ is learning what is a consecration to Mary,” she said. “Because there are different books written about it, different prayers that you can do … and this one is really focused on learning what does [Marian consecration] even mean.”

The consecration will end on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, a day that holds a special meaning to the College.

“One of the Sisters of the Holy Cross told me that Saint Mary’s is dedicated to [the Feast of the] Immaculate Conception,” Weilbaker said.

A Marian consecration is different than other devotions to particular saints, Weilbaker added.

“It is more than just a devotion to saint,” she said. “And it is more than just feeling special about Mary. It is actually entrusting my whole self to her, as a way of becoming holy.”

Weilbaker decided to consecrate herself to Mary after a friend gave her a book in high school.

“I first did it my junior year of high school,” she said. “I really didn’t know what I was getting myself into. … I realized that it wasn’t another religious book that I would read — it was something that was going to change my life completely.”

The group at Saint Mary’s began after Weilbaker struck up a friendship with a nun.

“[Our group] is really informal,” she said. “I became friends with one of the sisters after meeting her at daily Mass. And as we were having lunch, we were talking about how cool it would be if we could do a Marian consecration at Saint Mary’s. … There are five of us right now who are doing it. It is open if anybody still wants to do it with us; anyone and everyone is welcome, even if they don’t go to Saint Mary’s.”

Sr. Mary Ann Uebbing, leader of the Marian consecration group, said she and Weilbaker had previously discussed doing a consecration.

“It was last spring,” Uebbing said. “I was talking with Julie and she seemed interested in Marian consecration. I had the DVD [that accompanies the book] and I had done it before, so I asked if she was interested and she was.”

A process of meeting and reflection needs to be completed before one can complete a Marian consecration, Weilbaker said.

“Each day you do a two-and-a-half to five minute reading and then afterwards you do a little reflection, and we have a workbook that you can write in,” she said. “Or you can just think about the questions. And then once a week we’ll meet together, talk about how we grew throughout the week, how we feel God spoke to our hearts and then watch a short video that Fr. Michael Gaitley, who is the author of this specific book, made, and then actually make the consecration on Dec. 8.”

Weilbaker said consecrating her life to Mary has significantly altered her spirituality.

“It completely transformed my faith life,” she said. “Even if every day I don’t renew the consecration in prayer, although I try to, I know that all of my daily life is offered to her. … In a way it helped me to grow in humility, recognizing that I can’t do this on my own.”

Uebbing said she tries to model her life after Mary’s example.

“I have always loved Mary, right from childhood,” Uebbing said. “She is a motherly support, helping you get closer and closer to Christ, helping you to be more charitable. She is the perfect Christian disciple. She is the model to help me as I become a better Christian disciple.”

A Marian consecration is beneficial for those who want to grow closer to Jesus in a concrete manner, Weilbaker added.

“We all have a call to become holy,” she said. “We all have a call to become saints. … And if we really want to live our lives in imitation of Christ, I mean he really did for 30 years of life entrust himself to Mary in obedience and love of her. It is awesome to go out and preach the Gospel — it is awesome to keep learning about theology. But if you really are living an imitation of the life of Christ, I think this is a huge component of it. … Anyone who wants to get to know Christ better, [Marian consecration] is an incredible way to do it.”

Uebbing has a simple reason why she wants others to consecrate themselves to Mary.

“When you experience a good thing, you really want others to share it,” she said.